VARIATIONS IN COLOUR
If a paler bloom than the red of ‘Yuletide’ is wanted for the Christmas table, then there are varieties of Camellia sasanqua for every preference. The paradise series, developed in Australia, comes in a range of subtle shades. The gorgeous ‘paradise Blush’ has cupped blooms in pure white with a beautiful rosy-red tinting on the outer petals. It makes a tall shrub, capable of growing to more than 10ft (3m) in height. Shorter, but arguably even more striking because of its brash, hot-pink flowers, is ‘paradise Belinda’, which grows to approximately 5ft (1.5m) tall and produces flat, semi-double flowers. One of the most widely available varieties, and one of the hardiest, is ‘Hugh Evans’ with thin-petalled single flowers, not dissimilar to apple blossom. These are produced on an upright plant, which will reach 6ft 8in (2m) in height. There is even a variegated form, Camellia sasanqua ‘Variegata’, providing the opportunity for eye-catching greenery to decorate the house for the festive season as an alternative to the traditional holly and ivy. Its flowers are also two-toned, with white petals tipped with light pink. For a similar flower with fully green foliage once mature, ‘Rainbow’ has light-pink-tipped petals surrounding a conspicuous cluster of golden stamens, and is widely available.